As companies grapple with the realities of staying competitive in today’s evolving business environment, make no mistake: at its heart, it’s about information and interaction. How fast your business communicates, collaborates and responds to opportunity is the bedrock of success.
With so much hinging on the ability to communicate and collaborate quickly and efficiently, enterprises are scrambling to develop seamless collaboration environments. The sad (and frustrating!) reality ismost organizations are limping along with different vintages of audio, video and web-based tools all cobbled together into an awkward network of hardware and software. At best, this patchwork approach to collaboration provides a marginal end-user experience and places huge demands on internal IT resources and budgets.
To make matters worse, many applications haven’t fully addressed the needs of an increasingly mobile, global workforce that relies on smartphones and tablets. Each year the percentage of people who work remotely rises, but many applications cannot provide an easy, seamless collaboration experience across multiple devices as you move between Wi-Fi hotspots or ride in a car while trying to participate in a critical discussion.
So, it comes as no surprise that enterprises are hungry for applications that address mobility and multiple-device challenges. They also need a more efficient way to deliver those apps to employees without adding complexity for already strapped IT organizations.
Enter cloud-based unified communications (UC) solutions. Cloud-delivered services are easier to scale, come with predictable pay-as-you-go cost models and can extend communication resources and reduce costs associated with power, rack space and hard-to-recruit IT professionals.
In 2016, nearly half of enterprise applications were accessed via the internet, according to an IDC survey1. Cloud-based collaboration services appear to be the go-forward model, but even the most innovative application can’t deliver the promise of secure real-time audio and video conferencing, screen sharing, presence and instant messaging without adaptive networking capabilities and the right customer support model.
How do we define adaptive networking? Adaptive networking allows a business to take advantage of new growth opportunities and create value by having a network that adapts to the changing needs of internal and external customers. It allows you to connect sites, people and machines in the digital organization. It provides a common workforce experience that’s reliable anytime, anywhere. It protects people, data and infrastructure against the advancing threat landscape.
In the context of new, disruptive cloud-accessed applications and tools, adaptive networking accelerates the journey to truly unified communications because it’s more cost effective and can coexist with today’s hybrid technology environment. That’s crucial, because the reality is most businesses ease into new technology environments while they maximize existing investment. Cloud collaboration services are a perfect example.
I also believe the service provider’s support model is an often-overlooked key to getting the greatest possible return on investment from disruptive new applications. A pure, over-the-top software model may work for businesses with robust resources, but for many a lack of pre-deployment planning, super- and end user training and dedicated post-sale support inevitably leads to user frustration and lower than desired adoption. You simply don’t gain the greatest value from the tool or have the rapid access to support when you need it.
You may have read the announcement of a partnership between Level 3 and Amazon WebServices (AWS) to launch Amazon Chime, an innovative new cloud UC application that includes mobile videoconferencing and screen collaboration.
Amazon Chime Delivered by Level 3 enables enterprises to leapfrog their legacy environments and move quickly to a secure, integrated cloud-based audio, video and web-based enterprise-grade solution with end-to-end support. And by removing many of the headaches enterprises deal with today, such as long term commitments and upfront capital investments, it epitomizes a critical factor for moving toward cloud-based services – the ability for your business to rapidly adopt new, disruptive applications that fit your specific needs using an adaptive, highly secure networking experience and an enterprise support experience model.
1 – IDC, Worldwide SD-WAN survey, May 2016
What’s the connection between adaptive networking and digital transformation? Find out in Anthony’s blog ”The Role of Adaptive Networking in Digital Transformation.”